German museum cancels 'antisemitic' event with BDS advocate

BDS supporter Martin Breidert was slated to speak at the city-funded Übersee-Museum on Thursday on the topic: "Is criticism of the policies of the state of Israel antisemitic?"

April 28, 2019 00:12
3 minute read.
Gilad Erdan announces the launching of a new campaign to combat BDS.

Gilad Erdan announces the launching of a new campaign to combat BDS.. (photo credit: ALEXI ROSENFELD)


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A representative of a museum in the northern German city of Bremen has confirmed to The Jerusalem Post that an event with a hardcore advocate of the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment campaign against Israel was canceled last week.

The anti-Israel former pastor and BDS supporter Martin Breidert was slated to speak at the city-funded Übersee-Museum on Thursday on the topic: “Is Criticism Of The Policies Of The State Of Israel Antisemitic?”

Breidert is one of the main leaders of a pro-BDS group in the city of Bonn.

Vienna-based lawyer Michael Schnarch sent a letter of complaint to the museum’s management on April 7, stating: ”It all began with a boycott: the boycott of Jewish workers, Jewish businesses, Jewish doctors, and Jewish lawyers on April 1, 1933.”

Schnarch , a member of the executive board of Vienna’s oldest and largest synagogue, wrote in connection with the BDS campaign: “Boycott has nothing to do with peacefulness, nothing to do with non-violence. Today, this inglorious role is taken over by the so-called BDS movement, which aims to boycott all Israeli artists, all Israeli athletes, all Israeli institutions, all Israeli entrepreneurs, all Israeli scientists, all Israeli men and women.”

Schnarch, who is the only child of survivors of the Holocaust, termed the event with Breidert “clearly antisemitic.”

The lawyer’s letter to the museum cited a February 4 Post editorial titled: “BDS Terrorists.” The editorial quoted Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan who said: “Terrorist groups and the anti-Israel boycott campaign have united in their goal of wiping Israel off the map. Terrorist groups view boycotts as a complementary tactic to terror attacks.”

Schnarch wrote, “Breidert, as head of the BDS Group Bonn, is unfortunately a particularly bad example of antisemitic agitation.”

BDS Bonn has sent so-called “inspectors” into department stores to see if the stores sold Israeli products. The inspectors sought to encourage consumers to boycott Israeli merchandise in the former capital city of the federal republic. Breidert did not respond to a Post press query.

The museum’s executive director, Dr. Wiebke Ahrndt, wrote the Post by email that the canceled event “does not address a lecture of the Übersee-Museum but by the Bremen Information Center for Human Rights and Development, which regularly uses our premises for lectures. In this respect, this lecture was not canceled by us. All we asked was not to let the talk take place at the Übersee-Museum.

“A lecture and discussion about exactly what antisemitism is is basically very important to us. However, as a representative of BDS, Mr. Breidert himself is criticized for being antisemitic. Therefore, according to our speaker selection policy, we do not consider it appropriate [for him] to speak in our house about this sensitive issue.”

In 2017, the Bonn-based Pfennigsdorf Foundation planned to host a talk by former pastor Breidert titled, “For Human Rights and International Law in Palestine, What Does BDS Want?” The speaker is widely viewed as an antisemitic and aggressive hater of the Jewish state.

“The Jewish community is pleased that the event was canceled,” a spokeswoman for the Bonn Jewish community told the Post at the time. Nearly 1,000 members belong to the organization in the North Rhine-Westphalia city of some 311,000 people.

Dr. Efraim Zuroff, head of the Jerusalem office of the human rights NGO Simon Wiesenthal Center, told the Post at the time, “We welcome cancellations of BDS events, which serve as camouflage of antisemitism and hatred of the Jewish people.”

Zuroff, the organization’s chief Nazi-hunter, added that Breidert is “a notorious antisemite, and BDS propagates antisemitism and has no place in Germany.”

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